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Oscars: 'Frozen,' 'Croods' Animators Reveal the Secrets Behind Their Breakout Characters

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Frozen: Elsa

Taking her cues from Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, on which Frozen is based, Elsa started out as more of a villain -- before she was transformed into a young girl who grows up with magical powers she can't control. "Elsa is driven by fear -- she is afraid to show herself and she is afraid to hurt her sister, Anna," explains Chris Buck, who directed the film with Jennifer Lee. "When we started, the movie was a little more of an action-adventure and the theme was more good versus evil. But everyone saw the potential in Elsa to be more than just a villain." She finally came into focus when composers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote and then created a demo version of the song "Let It Go." "We were floored," says Buck. "Suddenly you really felt for Elsa. The audience could understand her and root for her." And that, in turn, led to a change in how the creative team viewed Elsa visually. Originally, says Buck, "she had black spiky hair and light blue skin. She was older -- a little more typical of the Disney villains. She also had a living fur coat of ermines [a type of weasel]. She would snap her fingers and the ermines would crawl up her and form a coat."

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